Gals, remember the days of toasting Cocoa Puffs in your Easy Bake Oven?
Cocoa Puffs were the best because they actually tasted like a baked good after laying under the light bulb aka heat element in the Easy Bake. You had used up the mixes that came with the oven on the first day, so after that it was a challenge to find food items small enough and worthy enough of some time in the chamber. And if you had a younger brother named Kevin who liked to do things such as feeding your Thumbelina doll to the dog and permanently marking the faces of your Barbies, perhaps he would also melt plastic toys in your Easy Bake Oven leaving behind a sticky, stinky mess. But that’s only speculation.
The Easy Bake Oven came out in 1963. It was brilliant, really. It looked like a real stove and every girl I knew wanted one. I was lucky enough to have one and I remember dragging it on family outings to cousins’ houses so we could put stuff from their cupboards through the Easy Bake ritual.
I was fascinated to learn that the inventor of the Easy Bake, Ronald Howes, also invented the Spirograph, another toy I loved. But I digress.
A few years ago the ol’ Easy Bake got an upgrade and one of its stove-top elements would actually heat up. But you could still only bake one tiny pan or one small serving of Cocoa Puffs at a time.
Now, meet the new Easy Bake for 2011. Gone are the incandescent lightbulbs in accordance with the US government’s green energy policy and this new one bakes with an actual heating element. It’s almost a real oven.
Some of those who grew up with the original Easy Bake say it’s blasphemous to take out the lightbulbs. Are they insane? Don’t they remember sitting around the oven for what seemed like hours, waiting for a cube of cheese to melt on a cracker? Besides, with the short attention spans kids have these days, the Easy Bake would go the way of the lawn dart pretty quickly if it didn’t speed things up. And speaking of lawn darts, I hope Hasbro has thought about the more curious children among us who like to put their hands on hot things just to see, you know, if they’re really hot. The company had to recall almost a million Easy Bake ovens in 2007 because kids were getting their fingers caught in the oven door and getting burned, a few quite seriously. You can’t be too careful. I remember it well. All it takes is one slip when you’re checking your Cocoa Puffs for firmness, and you end up with a lightbulb shaped red mark on your hand. But it’s nothing a small serving of lukewarm cereal can’t cure.